« AnteriorContinuar »
See! though 'tis frail and wrought of earth, this cup
is passing light: And hence I feel and know that he dreams nought but
dreams of bliss, Who lies asleep with earth upon his breast as light as this.
I cast aside the historic page to listen to the voice That by this cup bids human-kind in brotherhood re
joice : Then fill once more! to living friends I pledge this gobTO SIR JOHN F. W. HERSCHEL, K.H.
ON HIS RETURN FROM THE CAPE
“ Præsenti tibi maturos largimur honores.”—HORACE.
HERSCHEL, of zealous father zealous son,
" Receive the crown thine ardent toil hath won ! See, England's wisest, pressing to the shore, Descend in crowds to welcome thee once more; Climb the tall deck that bore thee safe to land, And clasp in ecstasy thy friendly hand, With heartfelt welcome both to thee and thine ; Loved ones who cheered thee on the cheerless brine.
When first thy vessel winged her eager way
Athwart the Line of equal night and day,
Taught southward her unerring course to shape,
And seek no haven but the wave-worn Cape ;
Though 'twas a joy to catch the gallant breeze
That whitened o'er the crest of foreign seas,
With glowing sense of change from hour to hour,
As clime succeeded clime with varied power,
And ocean told of wondrous living things,
And air responded to the sea-bird's wings,
With sights and sounds that stir each feeling breast;
Flashed there no joy on thee above the rest ?
As from th' horizon's still descending plane
Star after star rose o'er the heaving main,
Revealing in the ever-changing skies
One after one their glorious novelties“
Not with amazement, but with rapture, fraught,
Fresh to thy gaze, familiar to thy thought-
Till the South Pole stood high in pomp untold,
And a new firmament around thee rolled.
'Tis done : in either hemisphere thy name
Is read in characters of deathless fame;
But happier they the wondrous tale that hear
From thine own lips, illustrative and clear.
Now shall they welcome thee who most incline
To talk with zeal and intellect like thine ;
They who, thy much-loved Granta's bowers among,
Mingle stern reasoning with the muse's song;
The kindred souls, that watched and drank with glee
The scanty tidings sent across the sea.
Bear them awhile to realms of space remote,
Where myriad worlds in ambient ether float,
Celestial husbandman! who, night by night,
Didst garner up the golden grains of light,
In fields then first disclosed to mortal eye,
Rich with the harvest of an unknown sky.
Thy bright discourse of treasured lore prolong,
Thyself the centre of the listening throng ;
On truths sublime the graceful charm bestow
Of winning eloquence in fullest flow.
Born to the contemplation of the sky,
Nursed in the arms of sweet philosophy,
Better thy spirit in its calling strove
For this, that thou hadst much therein to love:
And memory of thy Sire, whose precepts mild
Led thee to star-eyed Science when a child-
Thy Sire, who borne on wisdom's searching wing
“ Found for the lyre of Heaven another string”
Led thee in reverence on and onward still :
Bade thee for him the mighty task fulfil.
No fond and vain ambition here we see:
Science is filial piety in thee!
And when with genius in one blaze combined,
Pure social worth, love, charity, we find,
Man creeps no more the being of an hour;
With honour crowned, than angels little lower.